A3: Record-setting growth for North American robotics market

Association for Advancing Automation reports the first half of 2017 saw growth of 33% in units and 26% in dollars over 2016.

By ·

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has announced the results of its research on robotics and automation trends, sales, and growth.

A3 provides quarterly statistical reports to its members for benchmarking and business intelligence purposes. As expected, many records were set in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control and motor technology for the first half of 2017.

A snapshot of some of A3’s research findings includes:


According to A3, the North American robotics market had its best opening half ever to begin 2017, setting new records in all four statistical categories (order units, order revenue, shipment units, and shipment revenue). In total, 19,331 robots valued at approximately $1.031 billion were sold in North America during the first half of 2017, which is the highest level ever recorded to begin a year. These figures represent growth of 33% in units and 26% in dollars over 2016. Automotive related orders grew substantially in that time, increasing 39% in units and 37% in dollars, while non-automotive orders also grew 21% in units and 10% in dollars over the first half of 2016.

Motion Control & Motors

For the first half of 2017, orders for motion control and motor products amounted to $1.622 billion, up 14% over the first six months of 2016. Shipments totaled $1.757 billion, up 10% over the first half of 2016, and the fastest growing categories in that timeframe, in terms of shipments, were Motion Controllers (21% to $97 million), Sensors & Feedback Devices (20% to $76 million), Actuators & Mechanical Systems (17% to $318 million), and AC Drives (17% to $199 million).

Vision & Imaging

In 2017, the machine vision market in North America also posted its best first half performance compared to any other year. A total of $1.241 billion was sold in the first six months of the year, with an increase of 11% over the same period in 2016. Machine vision component markets were up 11% in total to $177 million and systems increased 10% to $1.058 billion. Some notable growth rates were: Lighting (20% to $35 million), Smart Cameras (16% to $183 million), and Optics (16% to $20 million).

Experts expect software to trend up, cameras, lighting, and imaging boards to be flat, and optics to trend down over the next six months. Additionally, expectations are for Application Specific Machine Vision (ASMV) systems to increase and smart cameras to remain flat in the next two quarters.

A3 is comprised of three sister associations: the Robotic Industries Association (RIA); the Advancing Vision + Imaging Association (AIA); and the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA). A3 is currently at a record combined membership of 1,064 as of July 31, 2017.

“Year over year, our membership has been on a steady growth trajectory, the result of more companies understanding, and embracing, the direct impact automation can have on their bottom line,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “We look forward to the continued advancement of our industry and helping companies of all sizes access the connections, information, and training they need to succeed with automation.”

A3 On the Road

A3 will host several events in the fall of 2017 that support the organizations and industries noted in its research findings. They include:

  • The National Robot Safety Conference, taking place in Pittsburgh, PA, Oct. 10-12;
  • The MCMA Technical Conference,  taking place in Minneapolis, MN, Oct. 16-18; and
  • The Collaborative Robots & Advanced Vision Conference, taking place in San Jose, CA, Nov. 15-16.
  • For more details or to sign up, visit: www.a3automate.org.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Solving the Labor Shortage Crisis: The Four Benefits of an Automated Warehouse
Not enough warehouse staff? Finding it difficult to keep up with orders during peak periods?
Download Today!
From the March 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Here’s how one of the world’s largest 3PLs is looking to tomorrow’s innovative technologies, including heads-up display and robotics, to transform its operations today.
Conveyors & sortation: Carrying the e-commerce burden
2018 Productivity Achievement Awards
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Emerging Technologies for Your Distribution Center
Come get an insider's view of the latest technologies for inside your Distribution Center. You'll learn which technologies are being piloted, which are having success and moving from concept to implementation and into production on the maturity scale, and what's coming on the horizon.
Register Today!
NextGen Supply Chain at DHL
Here’s how one of the world’s largest 3PLs is looking to tomorrow’s innovative technologies,...
Trinchero Family Estates: Pallet handling in the vineyard
The second-largest family-owned wine company in the world turns to automated pallet handling and...

System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...